My dad was a character. He was larger than life, and not just in size. His voice, his humor, his presence. Even his stories were exaggerated, and became more so throughout the years, although he would deny this fiercely.
A look through his Facebook page tells you a lot about him. He was very political, fiercely liberal, a champion for the rights of minorities, the working class, the LBGT community. He loved animals, especially the puppies that were born in his house in the months before his death. He loved his family. He shared the accomplishments of his children, his grand kids, his daughter-in-law, his nephews and nieces. He loved my mother more than anything. He was a very smart man and an avid reader. We both read the Game of Thrones books and discussed them constantly. We played words with friends. He usually lost.
He could argue. He was stubborn. Sometimes impatient, although he seemed to gain patience with age, and was way more patient with the grandkids than he had been with us.
My dad taught me to make the best of any situation. If there was nothing you could do about it, you just had to keep going. He went through a lot and did it all with fortitude. He taught me to love unconditionally. My dad loved us no matter what we did. I never felt as if I disappointed him, even through the worst of times.
He told great stories. Most of them were inappropriate, so if you want to hear them you'll have to ask.
He loved fishing. I have tons of memories of camping and fishing expeditions when I was young. He taught so many of us how to fish: me, my siblings, my cousins, my son.
He was an amazing cook. He didn't follow recipes, just threw things together to make delicious and unique meals and drinks. If you were lucky enough to have eaten something my father made, you know what I'm talking about.
He loved music, and left behind a huge list of songs that remind us of him. He couldn't sing on key, but that didn't stop him from singing loudly and with much enthusiasm.
He was eccentric, and often obnoxious, and inappropriate, and I had this idea that only those of us who knew him well 'got him'. I found out I was wrong at his services, when countless people came and shared stories of how he touched their lives, with his humor or his kindness. Everyone who met him embraced his eccentricities, and saw the good, good man that he was. I still love to hear stories about him from friends and family members.
It's hard to believe it's been almost three years since he died. It doesn't seem that long, but there's so much of my life that'he's missed. I wish he could see my house, read my book, meet my cats. I miss him so much, but he was larger than life, and his presence stays with me always.
Happy Father's Day, dad. I love you.
For as long as she can remember, Lisa Litberg has loved to write. Over the years she has amassed quite a collection of short stories and poetry. Free is her first novel. Ms. Litberg has been a high school teacher for nearly twenty years and helps empower her urban students with the power of the written word. Currently she is working on a short story compilation geared toward urban youth, as well as her second novel, which will answer her readers' questions about what happened to Free.